True wealth and economics. What does it really mean to you? This article may yet offer you some viewpoints that will be both profound and unexpected.
Often the subject of much controversy, many people still attach a currency value to anything they are involved in as their wealth. Wealth is money and money can buy everything. Some people even believe it is the ultimate source of happiness. Even a family can be bought and paid for. Money is the absolute currency of loyalty, after all. Is this true? I’ll leave it up to you to come to your own conclusions, but it may be wise to find out more of the truth of wealth.
Now, about the value of money and economics. I must caution you, this portion of the article is not quite a typical economics lesson. So you may wish to get yourself a cup of tea while you read this. Here it goes.
A well known magnate decides to invest in an up and coming high-tech town and starts purchasing everything to fulfill his or her needs and wants. A brand new financial superstar is in town. Mega-tons of cash is what this person has. Except this person is also found to be lacking in any of the human social graces. After all, money always buy all the necessary services and loyalty right? The almighty hefty bank account will get all the smiles and nods required.
Bear with me as we discover the efficacy of this lifestyle in its sustainability or economy. Initially, the costs of hired labour, e.g. servants, business, services etc. were all procured at a reasonable market value. Then as is expected, inflation started to creep in with time. But other unforeseen costs and inflationary pressures started to rear its ugly head. It is normal in business that competitors for his labour in this growing town started to encroach on his business success.
Now, as I had mentioned earlier, this person treats everyone very poorly. In social circles he or she has few or no steadfast friends simply because they were not a priority. Since loyalty for this person is at a minimum or nonexistent, it stands to reason that his labour force would leave for the competitors who would offer similar pay, right? So to keep them he has to bid up their loyalty cost by a significant enough margin to price out his competitors. This magnates super profits will like now become a super liability. In may depend on the size of his ego versus his bank account that he may just throw in the towel and leave. Otherwise he or she faces the spectre of getting poorer or worse, to become socially acceptable. Yikes! Belay the thought!
Although truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, let’s be realistic. People are generally not so extreme in their anti-social behaviour and expect to survive in this world for any length of time in such extreme social isolation, about the way they treat the people around them. This is usually the stuff of the active imagination of a screen writer. However, bear with me now, it may happen once in a long while. But you see, it does serve up some significant food for thought.
One point I want to get across is that you simply can’t bribe your way to loyalty – it may work in the short term, but will be lost within a very short time. Have you ever gone to work for a relative and got underpaid or not at all? How long did your family loyalty last then? And how much goodwill did that relative build with you?
The next issue most people are already aware of is that you can’t buy goodwill with money either. Remember that in the above story people were willing to leave an abusive master for one that respects them at the same or marginal price for their services? If people are not satisfied where they are, they will like find an escape route.
My main point with this article is to highlight the folly of assuming and in fact being taught by society and media that money is the end all and be all. Where ever did that statement that “Money is the root of all evil” come from? It has been used prolifically but is actually a mangled and misused proverb. Yet, having lots of money has been portrayed as being the suave jet-setter being able to buy anything in life. Not everyone has such live aspirations or indeed will be able to reach such lofty ideals. Can there be anything more misleading about money? Now, given a choice, let me ask you, is money good, bad or simply a source of societal confusion?
I’m sure you already know the answer, reading this far. If what is done with money satisfies people or you, it is good. If it results in the control of others, well, how do like being bullied about your place of work or in any other situation that involves money? In short, it is the value of satisfaction that money provides that is acceptable. Remember how inflation and belittle or how purchasing power can work for or against your unit of currency. The amount of life satisfaction you receive in return for your available currency is what matters most ultimately.
And of course, let’s not be confused ourselves. I’m sure you remember that old worn out cliche about a fool and his money being soon parted? Well, it has been around forever from my grandfather to his grand ancestors too. But it is so true. Yet, there is a surprising number of people in this predicament and as a certain movie star used to say, “There is a sucker born every minute.” In fact, once many years ago, I had even considered myself to be one of those unfortunate suckers. Many of us have been through such folly in our lives. Admit it, you know what I mean. But it is nothing to be ashamed of as long as we all learn to correct our mistakes, it makes for a more secure future for ourselves when we do.
Now let’s get back to what true wealth is meant to be. Let’s make a simple comparison. Take the example of the distant past before money was invented. There was value in all that we did. If we caught more fish than we need, we can create the value of exchange for something we need from another person who has something we need or want like a blanket. Understand that it is all about simple economics and satisfaction.
Then when money was created by some brilliant MBA of the ancient days,, it became so that people could use this value to exchange for a greater variety of goods, or services to their satisfaction or resources.
Let me tell you of an example that I happened to come across not too many years ago. I had the opportunity as a young man to visit the Kung Tribes in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. They lived without money or any commerce at all. They hunted and gathered what they needed and no more. They do not fight, they have close knit families and tribes. They use their very unique clicking language to talk about any differences that may arise. To them , the desert was home and paradise.
In the week that followed, in an incredibly stark contrast, I was in Monaco to observe all their financial excesses, not to be demeaning, but to highlight the lifestyles of the financially wealthy people with their super yachts, condominiums and casinos. Yet, the governing body was always lamenting that its citizens are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and generally not making ends meet. The cost of living was spiraling out of control. What irony. Poverty in the midst of all that money.
So, it all boils down to the satisfaction money can buy for you to cater to your needs and wants. It is the value that money can get you not the money itself.